Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”), and Rule 19b-4 thereunder, notice is hereby given that on December 18, 2003, the International Securities Exchange, Inc. (“Exchange” or “ISE”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Start Printed Page 715Items I and II below, which Items have been prepared by the Exchange. The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change from interested persons and is approving the proposed rule change on an accelerated basis.
I. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Terms of Substance of the Proposed Rule Change
The ISE is proposing to extend until July 31, 2004 the current pilot program regarding transaction fees charged for trades executed through the intermarket options linkage (“Linkage”). Currently pending before the Commission is a filing to make such fees permanent.
The proposed fee schedule is available at the Exchange and at the Commission.
II. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change
In its filing with the Commission, the ISE included statements concerning the purpose of, and basis for, the proposed rule change and discussed any comments it received on the proposed rule change. The text of these statements may be examined at the places specified in Item III below. The Exchange has prepared summaries, set forth in Sections A, B and C below, of the most significant aspects of such statements.
A. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change
The purpose of this proposed rule change is to extend for six months the pilot program establishing ISE fees for Principal (“P”) Orders and Principal Acting as Agent (“P/A”) Orders executed through Linkage. The fees currently are effective for a pilot program scheduled to expire on January 30, 2004, and this filing would extend the fees through July 31, 2004. The three fees the ISE charges for P and P/A orders are: The basic execution fees for trading on the ISE, which range from $.12 to $.21 per contract/side depending on average daily trading volume on the Exchange; a $.10 surcharge per contract/side for trading certain licensed products; and a $.03 comparison fee per contract/side (collectively “Linkage fees”). These are the same fees that all ISE Members pay for non-customer transactions executed on the Exchange. The ISE does not charge for the execution of Satisfaction Orders sent through Linkage and is not proposing to charge for such orders.
In the Permanent Fee Filing, the ISE discusses in detail the reasoning why it believes it is appropriate to charge fees for P and P/A Orders executed through Linkage. In sum, market makers on competing exchanges can match a better price on the ISE; they never are obligated to send orders to the ISE through Linkage. However, if such market makers do seek the ISE's liquidity, whether through conventional orders or through the use of P Orders or P/A Orders, the Exchange believes it is appropriate to charge our Members the same fees levied on other non-customer orders. The ISE appreciates that there has been limited experience with Linkage and that the Commission is continuing to study Linkage in general and the effect of fees on trades executed through Linkage. Thus, this filing would extend the status quo for ISE's Linkage fees for six months while the Commission considers the Permanent Fee Filing.
2. Statutory Basis
The ISE believes that the basis for this proposed rule change is the requirement under Section 6(b)(4) under the Act  that an exchange provide for the equitable allocation of reasonable dues, fees and other charges among its members and other persons using its facilities. As discussed in more detail above, the ISE believes that this proposed rule change will equitably allocate fees by having all non-customer users of ISE transaction services pay the same fees. If the ISE were not to charge Linkage fees, the Exchange's fees would not be equitable, in that ISE Members would be subsidizing the trading of their competitors, all of whom access the same trading services.
B. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition
The Exchange does not believe that the proposed rule change imposes any burden on competition that is not necessary or appropriate in furtherance of the purposes of the Act. Moreover, the ISE believes that failing to adopt the proposed rule change would impose a burden on competition by requiring ISE Members to subsidize the trading of their competitors.
C. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Comments on the Proposed Rule Change Received From Members, Participants or Others
The Exchange has not solicited, and does not intend to solicit, comments on this proposed rule change. The Exchange has not received any unsolicited written comments from members or other interested parties.
III. Solicitation of Comments
Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views and arguments concerning the foregoing, including whether the proposed rule change is consistent with the Act. Persons making written submissions should file six copies thereof with the Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 450 Fifth Street, NW., Washington, DC 20549-0609. Comments may also be submitted electronically at the following e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org. All comment letters should refer to File No. SR-ISE-2003-39. This file number should be included on the subject line if e-mail is used. To help the Commission process and review your comments more efficiently, comments should be sent in hardcopy or by e-mail but not by both methods. Copies of the submission, all subsequent amendments, all written statements with respect to the proposed rule change that are filed with the Commission, and all written communications relating to the proposed rule change between the Commission and any person, other than those that may be withheld from the public in accordance with the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552, will be available for inspection and copying in the Commission's Public Reference Room. Copies of such filing will also be available for inspection and copying at the principal office of the Exchange. All submissions should be submitted by January 27, 2004.
IV. Commission's Findings and Order Granting Accelerated Approval of Proposed Rule Change
After careful consideration, the Commission finds that the proposed rule change is consistent with the requirements of the Act and the rules and regulations thereunder, applicable to a national securities exchange, and, in particular, with the requirements of section 6(b) of the Act  and the rules Start Printed Page 716and regulations thereunder. The Commission finds that the proposed rule change is consistent with section 6(b)(4) of the Act, which requires that the rules of the Exchange provide for the equitable allocation or reasonable dues, fees, and other charges among its members other persons using its facilities. The Commission believes that the extension of the Linkage fee pilot until July 31, 2004 will give the Exchange and the Commission further opportunity to evaluate whether such fees are appropriate.
The Commission finds good cause, pursuant to section 19(b)(2) of the Act, for approving the proposed rule change prior to the thirtieth day after the date of publication of the notice of the filing thereof in the Federal Register. The Commission believes that granting accelerated approval will preserve the Exchange's existing pilot program for Linkage fees without interruption as the ISE and the Commission further consider the appropriateness of Linkage fees.
It is therefore ordered, pursuant to section 19(b)(2) of the Act, that the proposed rule change (SR-ISE-2003-39) is hereby approved on an accelerated basis for a pilot period to expire on July 31, 2004.Start Signature
For the Commission, by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.
Margaret H. McFarland,
3. See File No. SR-ISE-2003-30 (the “Permanent Fee Filing”).Back to Citation
4. See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 47719 (April 23, 2003), 68 FR 22764 (April 29, 2003) (SR-ISE-2003-11).Back to Citation
5. The ISE charges these fees only to its Members, generally firms who clear P and P/A Orders for market makers on the other linked exchanges.Back to Citation
7. In approving this rule, the Commission notes that it has considered its impact on efficiency, competition, and capital formation. 15 U.S.C. 78c(f).Back to Citation
11. Id.Back to Citation
[FR Doc. 04-216 Filed 1-5-04; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8010-01-P